Civil society’s concerns

This positive view is not shared by everyone. Critics among policy-makers and in particular within civil society fear that the emphasis will be primarily on the economic interests of the companies involved (e.g. opening up new sales markets) and not on the groups targeted by development policy. Private-sector involvement is also criticised on the grounds that the participation of large globally active corporations simply promotes market-oriented agriculture with increased use of agricultural inputs and that smallholders in particular are put at a disadvantage. Civil society organisations suspect that not only will positive impacts on the target groups not be forthcoming but that the effects will actually be negative – they fear that there is no guarantee that private-sector companies will comply with human rights standards and principles and that human rights risks will not be identified. Ensuring and promoting human rights has become an increasingly important concern of development co-operation in recent years.